February 12, 2016
Earlier this week I got to see “Red”, the Tony-award winning play about one of my favorite painters, Mark Rothko. In the first act there’s a terrific back-and-forth between Rothko and the young artist he’s hired to be his studio assistant, of different things colored red. Its a verbal panoply of all things red, and in my mind’s eye as I visualized each thing they mentioned: tomatoes, blood, lips, cherries, apple, red pepper, rose, red hair, beets, lobsters (cooked), sunsets, strawberries, pomegranates, poppies, I saw all those different versions of red: cadmium red, alizarin, vermilion, scarlet, carmine, crimson, garnet and more. All so different, and all so red. I use them a lot. Its a fun exercise, and illustrates so well the differences between warm reds and cool reds to boot. In my workshop 2 nights later we started doing a similar thing, so they could all start envisioning different variations of just the one color.
Its a fun exercise, and illustrates so well the differences between warm reds and cool reds to boot. In my workshop 2 nights later we started doing a similar thing, so they could all start envisioning different variations of just the one color.
Next: I was born in the Year of the Monkey, so it’s ‘my’ year according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. There have been some interesting illustrations for it online on various social media sites, but I wanted to share one with you all especially. A friend of mine, Kay, who does sumi-e, created a lovely tribute to this year here.
And finally, speaking of reds, have a lovely Valentines!
January 1, 2015
Recently in my Saturday watercolor workshops, I told my students that if they ever wanted to go to a local museum to see a show, or to an art supply store, that I could easily be persuaded to join them. One of my watercolor workshops students took me up on it, emailed me and made a date to go to a small, local, private museum, the Irvine Art Museum. We went last Tuesday afternoon.
This small museum is “Dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890-1930)”. The show they have up now is of cover art from Westways Magazine, the monthly magazine of AAA. Up until 1981, Westways’ covers were all original artwork of landscapes, commissioned expressly for the magazine. These works of art for the magazine covers are as wonderful as they are varied.
Many of the artists that were engaged to do the works are known California artists, including many of the California Plein Air watercolorists: including Phil Dyke, Maynard Dixon, Maurice Logan and Rex Brandt, along with other plain air masters and illustrators. For me its always just plain fun not only seeing the actual works, but also studying each piece, working out how each artist composed their painting. And when I’m with students, talking about how the paintings were made, what the artists did to create their artwork.
For me, seeing original art is a ready-made lesson, where I get to study not only the images, and the techniques and visions of each artist. My real excitement is seeing if I can figure out how the artist painted the image, particularly with watercolors and gouaches simply because its my chosen medium. In general its fascinating to work out because in watercolors, you have to build a painting specifically due to the transparency of the paint. The more I can glean from how each artist paints, the more it feeds my own work. When I go home and paint, usually using the imagery I know, I try applying the techniques and colors I’ve just seen, and see if I can incorporate their colors, the economy of their brush strokes, and how they use dry brush over wet on wet. I sat in front of this Phil Dyke piece of Mt. San Jacinto, marveling at the broad under-painting of the shape of the mountain, and then those very few, specific brush strokes that essentially show the mountain extrusion from the ground. Wow.
Want to see some of these treasures? Just google “westways cover art“. Here’s a brief bio for Phil Dyke, too. And if you can, go see the paintings in person. There’s another one of the Grand Canyon that’s simply remarkable! Thanks for calling, Lori!
Happy New Year!
September 1, 2014
An email arrived earlier this summer, someone asking about one of my paintings of plumeria. These are always fun emails to get, of course. This person was from Australia, making the contact even more exciting, to realize someone halfway around the world found my work and so enjoyed it they wanted to buy a piece. This person did end up buying that painting, and icing on the cake, they commissioned a second painting, based on a small one I posted on this blog a couple of years ago. The client wanted the commissioned piece to be larger than the original, so I got to adjust the composition, adding a more flowers to it, to make the larger format work well.
Here’s the finished commission.
I shipped both paintings together, and they arrived the other day, they have them in their “hot little hand. They are gorgeous – thank you so much!” Its so lovely knowing that something I loved making is going being enjoyed so thoroughly by someone else. Thank you back!
April 20, 2014
In my workshops, especially the newer students often use the word “dark” when talking about colors that are the opposite of pale. So I like to ask them, “What do you mean by dark?” This question usually gets a lot of stumped looks.
The word ‘dark’ means having little or no light, when you look it up. So it’s really not a very accurate word to use for a descriptor of deep or rich color values. So I’ve developed a list of contrasting words that I encourage my students to consider instead of the words light and dark. It opens them up a new way of thinking about how to describe colors, hopefully.
These comparisons produce a lot of different ideas about colors. Can you think of any more?
March 20, 2014
I have a workshop of new watercolor painters that just started last night. For new painters, I give out a list of supplies they’ll need to have, including a list of paint colors they need to get. This list includes a breadth of reds, blues, yellows and greens, mostly, noting that they can choose to add any colors they want, that a combination of those colors might not create…usually for me this means pinks, purples, turquoises, and some greens. Black and white are not on my list, neither are the umbers or siennas. I talked about this in a posting a year ago: https://jillpaints.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/about-using-of-brown-and-grey-in-watercolor/
In getting ready for a set of workshops, this one is all about still lifes, I do some research online about the genre, refresh my memory, and find known and unknown painters’ work to show my students. And you know how when you go online that the thread of what you look at can look like a ball of string your cat unravelled? This time I stumbled upon pictures of a eucalyptus tree I’d never seen before: a rainbow eucalyptus.
One sample of a rainbow eucalyptus
A quote from Love These Pics, where I found the above picture (and many others) notes: “The landscaping article Under the Rainbow explained, “As the newly exposed bark slowly ages, it changes from bright green to a darker green, then bluish to purplish, and then pink-orange. Finally, the color becomes a brownish maroon right before exfoliation occurs. Since this process is happening in different zones of the trunk and in different stages, simultaneously, the colors are varied and almost constantly changing. As a result, the tree will never have the same color pattern twice, making it like a work of living art.”
Now, I get to have some fun explaining to my students how all tree trunks are not brown. Happy First Day of Spring!
May 29, 2013
In the “this moment just gets better” column!
I just received this photo via email. In my last posting about the Unique LA Show I talked about my fellow vendor who was talking on Facetime with her mum in London so Mum could choose the scarf she was going to receive for Mother’s day. Well, here she is, wearing the one she chose! From London! Via Facetime!
Doesn’t she look great!
I may be just a little goofy about this whole thing, but it was just so much fun, and startlingly cool, realizing what was happening when Lisa, the other vendor, asked if she could show the scarves on Facetime to her mum. In London. As my family would say, “Who’d’ve thunk it?”
Thanks to Lisa Bennett of Cards by Li Be for sharing her mum’s photo with me, and now you too.
I sell my scarves online in my Etsy shop Blooming Silks. And I’m happy to take orders! Delivery time is 2-3 weeks. Questions? Contact me here:
And please know that your contact information remains confidential!
May 26, 2013
Happy Memorial Day Weekend. I get to relax a little this weekend. I spent the last two weekends doing two art shows, one showing just the scarves, one for both the art and the scarves. I’m pooped! The first was Unique LA in downtown Los Angeles on May 11 & 12, and then on Sunday May 19th I showed for the 5th time at the Balboa Island Art Walk. I’ve showed at the Balboa Art Walk five years, now, this was my first experience with Unique LA.
The fun thing about Unique LA is that its all local, hand-crafted work. And it was held in the penthouse of the California Market Center, where clothing wholesalers are located. I had a table location to show my hand painted scarves.
My immediate fellow vendors included: on the tables on either side of me were lovely women that made jewelry, across from me was a soap maker, a woman who made letterpress cards next to her, another table of necklaces on her other side. Oh, and the place a few spaces down that made, I kid you not, both salted caramel donuts and bacon/maple donuts. Which were both over-the-top delicious, by the way. And I’ve now had my donut ration for the next five years.
This woman was my first sale Saturday morning. She must have tried on a dozen of the scarves, and each one looked better on her than the last. Here she’s in the one she ended up getting: Lavender Poppies with sap green buds.
She bought it and put it on for the rest of her day. Makes the artist’s heart go pitter pat!
Later on my friend Rheena Mae came by, and modeled this one of the Poppies design in yellow, again with sap green stems and buds. I think she needs to buy this one, don’t you?? Especially to wear with that sap green dress!
Rheena makes a line of necklaces and bracelets called Mae Mae.
The second day was Mother’s Day. I’d been talking with all my neighbors, especially the card maker, who was English, and had told her mum in London about my scarves. When she decided to get her one, she came over with her iPhone while she was Face-timing with Mum so she could show her all the scarves, and Mum could choose the one she wanted. It was so very cool! and my longest-distance ever real time sale! There we were in LA, she was in London, and we were having this conversation so she could pick what she wanted. From thousands of miles away! My grandparents would be flabbergasted. I’m still getting a thrill out of it!
The purple scarf in the middle is a new style, and it’s on a color field. I’ve started experimenting with dying the scarves a background color first, then painting the pattern on the colored background. The other styles featured are (left to right, top to bottom): Fall leaves, Flower Fields, Farfalle (in turpuoise and green), Lines & Dots, Leaves (in grass and chartreuse), Farfalle (in light orange and deep pink), and Stars (in pink with lavender centers).
I only wish I’d had another pair of hands at the show, if only to document all the fascinating things people were wearing. I could’ve done a series just of all the shoes! But I did get this on, one customer had this small purse, fabricated from soda can pop tops. Fun, isn’t it!
And finally, here’s another new design, a development of the “Poppies” design. This one features a wave pattern in the background. If you have seen my paintings, you’ll know that this wave pattern is one of my signature patterns. I am tickled how I worked out a way to include this pattern onto the scarf designs–using foam brushes and a pair of scissors. I’ve made this design so far with these hot pink poppies, as well as with orange and yellow poppies so far. Next experiment is with a different color of wave! Maybe magenta waves behind the lavender poppies? Any ideas? Leave me a comment!
Next time I’ll show you the Balboa Island Art Walk.